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Orioles minor league recap 9/21: Norby shines in Tides debut

Connor Norby homered on the very first pitch he saw at Triple-A, while Aberdeen won to stay alive in the SAL championship.

MLB: Game Two-Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Daniel Kucin Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Durham Bulls (Rays) 9, Norfolk Tides 2

Connor Norby (Orioles’ #12 prospect) had an excellent showing in his debut for the Tides. The rest of the team, not so much. Norby homered on the first pitch of the game for Norfolk, his 26th homer on the season across three minor league levels. The second baseman also singled in the third and eighth inning, finishing the day 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Norby may have gotten the Tides on the board early, but the rest of the offense didn’t exactly follow his lead. While the rest of the Norfolk lineup combined for six hits, they couldn’t string them together to get runs on the board. After Norby’s leadoff homer, the Tides didn’t score again until a Yusniel Diaz home run in the seventh. In between those two runs, the Norfolk pitching staff gave up three home runs and nine runs total.

Most of that damage came off starter Ryan Conroy, as he allowed five runs (four earned) while only collecting five outs. The first man out of the bullpen, Rico Garcia, fared a little better, going 2.1 innings while allowing 2 runs and striking out two. Still, after four innings the Tides trailed 7-1, and that was a hole they simply couldn’t dig themselves out of.

Box Score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 13, Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays) 6

Facing elimination in the South Atlantic League Championship Series, the IronBirds offense responded in a big way Tuesday against Bowling Green. Recent draft picks Dylan Beavers (Orioles #8) and Jud Fabian (Orioles #23) got things started early for Aberdeen, as Beavers led off the bottom of the first with a walk and later came around to score on a Fabian RBI-single. Beavers then picked up three RBIs of his own in the second, launching a three-run home run to right field.

The IronBirds would all but wrap up the contest in the fourth with another big inning. After loading the bases on two singles and a walk, second baseman Billy Cook singled to score two runs. Heston Kjerstad (Orioles #10) followed that up with a triple laced down the first base line into the right field corner, scoring two more runs and stretching the IronBirds lead to 9-2.

A day after collecting only six hits in a Game 1 loss, the IronBirds’ offense exploded Tuesday for 13 hits—including five extra-base hits. Beavers and Fabian led the way, as the pair of 2022 draft picks combined to go 5-7 with five RBIs and five runs scored. Starter Jean Pinto backed the offense with a strong showing, going 5.2 innings while allowing three runs and striking out four. The win for Aberdeen sets up a winner-take-all Game 3 Wednesday night.

Box Score

Wednesday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk Tides @ Durham Bulls, 6:35pm ET. Starting Pitcher: Grayson Rodriguez
  • Aberdeen IronBirds vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods, 7:05pm ET. Starting Pitcher: TBD*

*South Atlantic League Championship Series Game 3